in Frieze Seoul | 31 AUG 22

Jeamin Cha: Nameless Syndrome

A video essay on unidentifiable illness exploring the chasm between observation and experience

in Frieze Seoul | 31 AUG 22

2022 / single channel video, 4K, color, sound / 24min 

Nameless Syndrome concerns the constant reduction of the self through digitization. Regularly dismissed as trivial or psychological in a society that considers medical science to be the ultimate arbiter of truth, unidentifiable illnesses continue to cause suffering for a growing number of women today. In these cases, listening closely to the patient’s use of language can be more important than using technologies like medical imaging. After all, not only does such imaging fall short of guaranteeing empirical veracity, it fails to capture the nature of countless symptomatic and political complexities. Composed of five chapters, this video essay uses narration and juxtaposition to layer reflections of the body in mirrors, glass, and water inside an examination room, focusing on the alienation of the corporeal subject and its objectification as a private space through its manifestation as an image. By unpacking the experience of an image that lacks subjecthood, Cha unpacks, too, the consequences of the effort to recognize the subject. 

About Jeamin Cha

Seoul-based artist Jeamin Cha works variously between film, performance, and installation. Using images that are lens-based rather than synthesized, Cha raises questions about the possibilities and limitations of the visual arts and the documentary form. She seeks to capture the individual lived realities of her subjects through interviews and on-site research, focusing on the ways in which society permeates their lives. Institutions and events that have showcased Cha’s work include the Asia Culture Center (Gwangju), KADIST (Paris), Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art (Barcelona), National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (Seoul), Museum of Contemporary Art Busan (Busan), Film at Lincoln Center (New York), OCAT Institute (Beijing), Gwangju Biennale, SeMA Seoul Mediacity Biennale, Berlin International Film Festival, Oberhausen International Short Film Festival, and the Jeonju International Film Festival. 

The film is not available to watch online, upon request of the artist. 

Screened at Magib, August 31 to September 7, as part of Frieze Film at Frieze Seoul 2022